im·​bal·​ance | \ (ˌ)im-ˈba-lən(t)s How to pronounce imbalance (audio) \
plural imbalances

Definition of imbalance

: lack of balance : the state of being out of equilibrium or out of proportion a structural imbalance a chemical imbalance in the brain "… The talks are aimed at reducing the trade imbalance … between the world`s two largest economic powers. …"— Norah O'Donnell A key element of the definition of bullying is a power imbalance that enables the abusive behavior.— Patricia Vowinkel Some have suffered an imbalance of gait known as ataxia.— Lawrence K. Altman

Other Words from imbalance

imbalanced \ (ˌ)im-​ˈba-​lən(t)st How to pronounce imbalance (audio) \ adjective

Examples of imbalance in a Sentence

Her depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. the problem of racial imbalance in schools
Recent Examples on the Web The big hope was that global supply chains would catch up to this great imbalance in the first half of 2022, if not by the end of Q1. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, 10 Jan. 2022 An imbalance of trade between China and the EU, and a rule that empty containers cannot travel by rail has locomotives idling in Europe, waiting to fill up wagons, while full containers pile up in China. Aurora Almendral, Quartz, 22 Dec. 2021 This imbalance will become only more pronounced as people don’t just live longer but stay healthier for longer as well. Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, 14 Dec. 2021 This is especially true for sons who may struggle to find a partner due to China's gender ratio imbalance -- worsened by the former one-child policy and a traditional preference for sons -- which has especially impacted rural areas. Cheryl Ho, CNN, 10 Dec. 2021 Or Connie Britton and Steve Zahn, as Gen X parents navigating power imbalance, infidelity, and their terrifyingly opaque teens? Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, 30 Nov. 2021 The growing imbalance between incoming and outgoing — and the overall surge in trade — has further strained the infrastructure that moves goods from one country to another, adding to the global supply chain problems triggered by COVID-19. Michael E. Kanell, ajc, 25 Nov. 2021 One easy solution to this imbalance would be for the cell to pinch together into two daughter cells. Quanta Magazine, 23 Nov. 2021 On the whole, not taking enough time off from work can contribute to larger issues of work-life imbalance and burnout, which can have mental, physical and occupational consequences. Jay Cannon, USA TODAY, 21 Nov. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'imbalance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of imbalance

circa 1890, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for imbalance

Time Traveler

The first known use of imbalance was circa 1890

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Dictionary Entries Near imbalance

Imari ware



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Last Updated

13 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Imbalance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for imbalance



English Language Learners Definition of imbalance

: a state or condition in which different things do not occur in equal or proper amounts


im·​bal·​ance | \ (ˈ)im-ˈbal-ən(t)s How to pronounce imbalance (audio) \

Medical Definition of imbalance

: lack of balance : the state of being out of equilibrium or out of proportion: as
a : loss of parallel relation between the optical axes of the eyes caused by faulty action of the extrinsic muscles and often resulting in diplopia
b : absence of biological equilibrium a vitamin imbalance if the ductus arteriosus fails to close, a circulatory imbalance results— E. B. Steen & Ashley Montagu
c : a disproportion between the number of males and females in a population

Other Words from imbalance

imbalanced \ -​ən(t)st How to pronounce imbalance (audio) \ adjective


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